Asus ships malware with Eee Boxes

October 9, 2008 // 12:19 p.m.

Tags: #asus #asustek #eee #eee-box #virus #w32usbalex #worm

Asus has officially confirmed that certain versions of its pint-sized Eee Box desktop PC shipped with a virus on the hard drive's second partition.

The Windows XP-based computers came with a copy of the W32/Usbalex worm according to an article over on The Register. By placing an autorun.inf file on the D: drive, the worm – disguised under the filename of recycled.exe – is able to get itself automatically executed when a user double-clicks the second partition in My Computer. Once the program is run, it attempts to copy itself to the main system partition and any removable drives currently attached to the system.

While Asus has admitted the existence of the malware-infected units – as confirmed over on PC Advisor – the problem might not end there. In the Register article, writer Tony Smith goes on to state that a review version of the Eee Box he was sent came with a different virus – W32/Taterf, a.k.a. W32.Gammima.AG – which attempts to steal username and password combinations for popular online games.

Although the possibility exists that the review version held by The Register was infected when in the hands of a previous reviewer – single boxes are often shipped from place to place without being properly cleaned – when taken with the above news that retail versions were distributed with viruses, it certainly begs the question of what exactly is going on over at Asus HQ.

Have you ever received a nasty surprise on a brand-new piece of computing equipment, or do you wipe new systems clean just to be on the safe side? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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